Yankees’ Aaron Judge hints at big changes after being eliminated from playoff contention

mlb: arizona diamondbacks at new york yankees, anthony volpe
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

In a poignant Sunday evening, the New York Yankees faced the harsh reality of being officially eliminated from the playoffs, courtesy of a stinging 7-1 defeat by the Arizona Diamondbacks. With their slim postseason hopes now crushed, attention inevitably shifts to the challenging preparations for the 2024 season.

Injuries Mar the Yankees’ Season

Several injuries marred the Yankees, especially among their key players. Prominent among them, Aaron Judge, their superstar slugger, managed only 100 games going into Sunday. With a batting average of .267, an OBP of .401, and a wRC+ of 173, Judge continued to impress despite his limited appearances.

“We could hit it from a lot of different aspects but what it comes down to is we didn’t do our job,” he said. “With the type of lineup we have, the pitching rotation, we just got to show up collectively. I know guys missed time. That always hurts from the rotation and even my standpoint missing all the games I did. That doesn’t help. You’re supposed to be a guy in the middle of the lineup that produces every single night. It’s tough. Every year I’ve been in New York, we’re in the postseason. It’s gonna be a little different this offseason. That’s going to give us more time to get ready for the next one.”

Management’s Next Moves

Despite this season’s disappointment, the Yankees have missed the postseason only for the first time since 2016. Indications are that General Manager Brian Cashman will remain at the helm. Owner Hal Steinbrenner has also reportedly engaged third-party evaluators to meticulously dissect the front office’s strategies. Their mission? To identify shortcomings that led to less-than-stellar trades and acquisitions.

Aaron Judge anticipates rigorous internal discussions, highlighting the need for cohesive action across the board, from the minor leagues to the highest echelons of the organization. With the onset of free agency imminent, the Yankees need swift and decisive action to overhaul the roster and set the stage for success.

“We have a lot of work to do, a lot of internal talks, a lot of stuff we have to figure out to get ready for the next year,” he said. “It’s going to be talking with everybody in the organization, all the way down to the minor leagues and all the way to the top.”

Laying the Foundation for the Future

The Yankees have already set the wheels in motion for improvement. Over the recent weeks, they’ve been closely monitoring their prospects in the MLB, gathering critical insights to guide decisions for the upcoming spring training.

In an ideal scenario, a wave of young talents would fortify the active roster, easing the financial strain on specific positions. This financial wiggle room could pave the way for acquisitions like Yoshinobu Yamamoto and potent hitters to augment the lineup.

But the Yankees’ fate remains intrinsically tied to their high-value contracts. The recent performances from heavyweights like Carlos Rodon, plagued by injuries, and Giancarlo Stanton, whose contributions have been dwindling, remain concerning. For the Yankees, a World Series dream hinges on these players returning to their prime or an unprecedented turn of events in the seasons to come.

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